Managing People in Projects
When you spread your subject experts onto important projects, reporting lines get blurred. You’ll notice the collapsing of reporting line as the structure becomes chaotic. Whilst the Matrix looks great on paper, the biggest downfall of the matrix system is the confusion it causes. Petty conflicts arise as peers with no authority over one another jostle for power.
Managers often report they’re frustrated when the same reporting problems keep reoccurring. Quite often it’s the same issue being delivered by the same person on a different day. The #1 cause of workplace conflict is role ambiguity and roles are further complicated within the matrix framework. Traditional reporting lines are scrambled, tensions build as deadlines get tighter and confusion can reign over who was meant to do what!
Smart managers don’t accept that matrix mayhem is inevitable. Instead, they fence off and solve the problems that will occur within the matrix beforehand. Forward matrix planning is a proven productivity tool. This breakthrough course will provide you and your staff with the skills and knowledge to manage and perform within the matrix.
AT THE CONCLUSION OF THIS COURSE PARTICIPANTS WILL BE ABLE TO:
WHAT IS IT?
Matrix management is a structure that uses specialist staff from different functional areas to work on projects or assignments being led by project managers. Staff in the matrix structure have two managers – their functional manager and their project manager. The functional manager maintains the line of authority over the day to day issues such as work allocation, performance, sign offs, etc while the project manager has authority over the issues related to the project.
|Marketing||Information Technology (IT)||Human Resources (HR)||Sales & Service (S&S)|
|Project 1 — Tony||Jim — Marketing||Jane — IT||Steve — HR||TIna — S&S|
|Project 2 — Simon||Sally — Marketing||Mario — IT||Jenny — HR||Marc — S&S|
|Project 3 — Kate||Stefan —Marketing||Deb — IT||Carrie — HR||Bruce — S&S|
|Project 4 — Naomi||Renae — Marketing||Greg — IT||Dom — HR||Ali — S&S|
Matrix management allows greater flexibility across organisations as staff from all departments and areas are working on different projects rather than being confined to their own functional area. It provides staff with variety and the opportunity to apply their specialist knowledge. Perhaps the greatest advantage is that staff can be chosen to suit the requirements of the project. Another advantage of matrix management is that it can break down silos because staff have to work and share information with other staff from other areas.
WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?
The figure below shows an example of a basic matrix structure. Across the top are the typical organisational functions of marketing, information technology, human resources and sales & service. Down the left hand side are the various projects being undertaken by the firm. Each project has a project leader and is staffed by a people from each of the functional areas.
A unique dynamic of matrix management is that it creates a dual line of command as the project team leaders report to their functional manager as well as their project manager. Jim from Marketing is part of Project 1 so his project manager is Tony however, he still reports to his functional manager.
The disadvantages of matrix management are caused by the dual line of command and this typically plays out as a conflict around resource allocation between the line or functional manager and the project manager. Staff then find themselves lost in the matrix as their functional manager is demanding or refusing one thing while their project manager is demanding something else. The challenge for matrix management is to work through the role clarity issues and providing staff and managers with clear guidelines to address role ambiguity.
“Matrix management is a structure that uses specialist staff from different functional areas to work on projects or assignments being led by project managers.”
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